Panasonic has sold its entire stake in electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla for around $3.6 billion. The Japanese electronics giant, which also jointly owns a battery factory with Tesla, held shares worth $730 million of the EV maker as of March 2020. The firm had reduced this amount to zero by March 2021, according to a Panasonic filing. Tesla’s stock value had increased five folds in 12 month period during which Panasonic had shed its stake in the EV maker.
Panasonic is one of the largest suppliers of batteries for Tesla. However, the relationship between the two firms has been rocky. Panasonic has publicly received comments from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to boosts its battery production.
“The sale was part of a review of Panasonic’s cross-shareholdings policy in accordance with corporate governance code guidelines and won’t impact upon the company’s relationship or partnership with Tesla,” Panasonic spokeswoman Yayoi Watanabe said, according to Bloomberg.
She added that the Japanese electronics giant had informed Tesla about the sale. “Proceeds will be used for investing in future growth,” she said.
Panasonic will use the funds generated from the sale of its Tesla stake to pay for its $7 billion acquisition of artificial intelligence software developer Blue Yonder, Bloomberg quoted a report from The Nikkei.
Under its new President and Chief Executive Officer Yuki Kusumi, Panasonic had initiated a two-year mission to produce more batteries for EV maker Tesla. It plans to use billions of dollars to invest in areas that will make the firm more efficient at what it does.
“Better efficiency in operations such as manufacturing will increase Panasonic’s ability to generate cash, in turn freeing up hundreds of billions of yen to direct toward new initiatives, including mergers and acquisitions,” Kusumi, had told the global news platform.
In order to streamline its operations, Panasonic had bought Blue Yonder in early 2021. “With the Arizona-based company’s software and its own sensor technologies, Panasonic can analyze site operations for inefficiencies, such as when workers are being left idle between tasks,” Kusumi added.